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Music: Sarah McLachlan

''Hi, I'm Sarah McLachlan. Will YOU be an angel for a helpless animal?

Sarah Ann McLachlan (born 28 January 1968) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She specializes in emotional music that is a mixture of baroque pop, folk-rock, and adult contemporary. She is also known for her soothing voice that is in the mezzo-soprano vocal range. In addition to her personal artistic efforts, she founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians in the late 1990s and in 2010. It was originally created in backlash of radio stations not wanting to plays songs by female artists back-to-back.


  • Touch (1988)
  • Solace (1991)
  • Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993)
  • Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff (1996, mostly covers and remixes)
  • Surfacing (1997)
  • Afterglow (2003)
  • Wintersong (2006)
  • Laws of Illusion (2010)

Provides the following tropes:

  • Audience Participation Song: "Blackbird", "Ice Cream", really any one of them.
  • Award Bait Song - "When She Loved Me" in Toy Story 2, written by Randy Newman.
  • Banned in China: The original video for "Possession" was apparently too spooky or something for America, so they made another one.
  • Breakup Song: "U Want Me 2". However it would perhaps be more correct to discuss the songs that could not be classified as Breakup Songs.
  • Broken Bird
  • Canada, Eh?
  • Cover Version: She's covered "Dear God" by XTC, "Song for a Winter Night" by Gordon Lightfoot, "Blue" and "River" by Joni Mitchell, "Gloomy Sunday" by Rezső Seress, "Blackbird" by The Beatles (for the soundtrack of I Am Sam), "Homeless" by Paul Simon, "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers, and "The Rainbow Connection". Pretty much all of Wintersong consists of covers. She also covered the chorus of Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" for DMC's song "Just Like Me".
  • Creator Breakdown: Played straight or inverted after the birth of her daughter.
    • The songs "U Want Me 2" and "Don't Give Up on Us" were written in reaction to the breakup of her marriage.
    • The reason behind the four-year gap between Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Surfacing was due to the fact that Sarah was unable to come up with anything new for the record, and ended up taking 6 months off.
  • Development Hell: From 1997-2010 she produced a total of 3 proper studio records. Laws of Ilusions was released nearly 7 years after her last album Afterglow, which was released over 6 years after it's precdecessor, Surfacing. Much of it had to do with the fact that she has been busy being a mother. Additionally, Surfacing came nearly 4 years after it's predecessor, due to Sarah being mentally exhausted and unable to come up with anything new.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Touch, and to a lesser degree, Solace.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "The Prayer of St Francis".
  • Grief Song: You'd be better off listing the ones that aren't.
    • "Push" isn't, but it seems unlikely that Sarah will play it after her marriage fell apart.
  • Hidden Track/Rearrange the Song: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy has a second version of "Possession", this one an acoustic piano ballad, as a hidden track at the end.
  • Instrumentals: "Last Dance" on Surfacing.
  • Isnít It Ironic: Angel is about heroin abuse, specifically the fatal overdose of The Smashing Pumpkins' keyboardist, but is used in a PSA narrated by McLachlan herself for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Possession", one of her most upbeat, rockingest songs, is about a stalker.
    • "Angel" is about the overdose of Jonathan Melvoin.
    • "Building a Mystery", when really you listen to the lyrics, notably contrasts with the warm, laid-back feel of the song. At least one live performance she's done of it turns it into a harder, grunge-style song, putting particular emphasis on the "screaming loud" and "fucked up" lines.
    • Most of her songs are this trope. "Vox", "Fallen", etc.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She appeared in two of the Solace-era videos naked, although it was obviously meant for artistic purposes rather than to look sexy.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Excluding covers, "Awakenings," "Ben's Song," "Dirty Little Secret," "Elsewhere," "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy," "Last Dance," "Out of the Shadows," "Possession," "Touch," "Trust," "Sad Clown," "Uphill Battle," "Vox," and "Wintersong" all fall under this trope. Most of these songs come from her first album, although some of these, most notably "Awakenings," are much more recent. To an extent, "Circle," "Illusions of Bliss," and "The Path of Thorns" could also fall under this trope.
  • Obsession Song/Stalker with a Crush: "Possession." An obsessed fan sued Mc Lachlan, claiming that she had used the love letters he wrote to her in the song's lyrics. He committed suicide before the suit ever went to trial.
  • Precision F-Strike: "A beautiful fucked up man" in "Building A Mystery".
  • Property of Love: "Sweet Surrender"
  • Protest Song: "World On Fire". The video borders on Anvilicious as it list every expense that went into the video and what was bought with the money instead.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Not only is "Possession" about a stalker, the lyrics were inspired by actual stalking letters that McLachlan received from her very own stalker. Who then tried to sue her for plagiarism.
  • Record Producer: All her albums since Solace have been produced by Pierre Marchand; the others, as a result, suffer from Early-Installment Weirdness.
  • Refrain from Assuming: "Angel" is not called "In the arms of the angel". Also, "Possession" falls victim to this due to Non-Appearing Title.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Angel" was written after seeing several famous musicians die of heroin overdose. "World On Fire" was inspired by the 9/11 attacks.
  • Slash Fic: And quoting from The Big List of K/S Cliches:
    Is the title taken from a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan?
    Is the story preceded by a quote from a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan?
    Is a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan played during the story?
    Is a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan sung during the story?
  • Star-Spangled Spandex: The music video for "Building a Mystery" has a dress like this.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: "U Want Me 2".

Great Big SeaCanadian MusicJoel Plaskett
Mazzy StarAlternative IndieMeat Puppets
Dave Matthews BandMusic Of The 1990sMelt Banana

alternative title(s): Sarah Mc Lachlan
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